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View from the North: Dalian Shide 0 – 0 Beijing Guoan

Going on the road is never easy, but Beijing Guoan has to be regretting getting only a single point out of their visit to Dalian Shide in a boring 0-0 draw. After a rough first half, Guoan’s second half was much improved after a trio of early substitutions, but it still wasn’t enough to get a winner.

Once again this season, it appears that Beijing is two entirely different teams, at home they are able to dominate matches and score goals in bunches, on the road they’ve scored once in three matches and have managed only a single point from those matches.

Perhaps due to the pitch, which was far from optimal condition with only patches of actual grass, Guoan struggled for much of the first half. The Men in Green were on their heels as Dalian kept pushing forward, though rarely looking dangerous.

The Beijingers couldn’t get anything going in the midfield, rarely stringing together more than a single pass, and the few times a Guoan attacker got the ball, it was almost always with his back to the goal. The defense looked shaky and booted clearances down the pitch instead of counterattacking. Dalian had the best chance of the half, though their striker James Chamanga was a touch offside.

At the half, Pacheco pulled Zhou Ting off and brought on Lang Zheng, perhaps thinking Zhou had already been carded and Lang’s height may help in the box. The manager made his second change 10 minutes into the half, taking off the underperforming Manu and bringing on Xu Liang, hoping to get some stability in the midfield.

The changes helped a little as Guoan started controlling the ball a bit more and began mounting an attack. The move in the 63rd minute to bring Mao Jianqing on for Wang Xiaolong helped even more. A lot of Guoan fans have complained that Pacheco has taken too long to make substitutions, but making all three changes in little more than the first 15 minutes shows the risk taking manager that Guoan fans known and love from last season.

Mao produced one of the better chances of the second half in the 77th minute, finding himself in a bit of space, he attempted to chip the keeper, his shot surprised all, but flew just over the crossbar. Dalian had their own chance a few minutes later, with a commotion in the middle a pass found Ricardo Esteves in space, but his shot was blocked by the Guoan defense.

It was Mao again in the 87th minute, breaking free of the defense and sending a good ball across the box, but Reinaldo couldn’t get on the end of it. That would be the end of the chances, with very little extra time the referee blew for full time a short time later.

A point apiece is a fair result for both sides, Guoan played much better in the second half, but they still struggled getting good balls in the final third of the field. Too often than not they had to deal with high balls booted down the pitch by the defense instead of passes they could create with.

Guoan will stay close to the top after this draw, but its the loss of points like this, easily obtained if the team would have played slightly better, that could come back to haunt them later in the season.

Brandon Chemers aka B. Cheng aka A Modern Lei Feng – is a name which may be familiar to many in the Chinese blogosphere. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for Wild East Football and is one of the lonely souls writing about Chinese football in English for the last 10 years. Chemers' credentials are second to none – his former blog focused not only on the fortunes of his beloved Beijing Guoan FC, but a multitude of other aspects of Beijing life. He’s deservedly built a reputation in the Chinese blogosphere as an insightful observer of not only Chinese football, but also the wider picture of life in modern China and its many layers. For WEF, beyond writing about Guoan, he often focuses on fan culture and the business of Chinese football.

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